High School Football: Wayne better than last two state teams?

Wayne’s Ray James (with ball) is taken down by Miamisburg’s Austin Turner. Wayne defeated host Miamisburg 45-12 in a Week 4 high school football game in what also was the debut of Holland Field on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Wayne’s Ray James (with ball) is taken down by Miamisburg’s Austin Turner. Wayne defeated host Miamisburg 45-12 in a Week 4 high school football game in what also was the debut of Holland Field on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF



Here’s what we can say about Wayne (3-0-1) after four weeks of the high school football season: the Warriors might be even better than the last two Wayne teams that played for Division I state championships.

Proof is in a 35-17 mauling of Moeller in Week 2 and Friday's equally impressive 45-12 KO of Miamisburg. More impressive, the Warriors are doing it with a sophomore quarterback, Rashad McKee.

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His numbers — not counting a two-quarter tie in the opener — are a combined 36 of 53 passing for 636 yards and eight touchdowns. He hasn’t thrown an interception.

“I wouldn’t say things are any easier, but I’m starting to see the game different,” he said after the Warriors thoroughly deflated the Vikings’ amped-up atmosphere in the home opener and debut of Holland Field. “Things are slowing down on the varsity level. I’m more comfortable than the Moeller game, I’ll say that.”

Four Warriors were targeted by McKee: Ray James (four catches, 51 yards), L’Christian “Blue” Smith (3-65), Matt Wilcox (3-34) and Kevin Wright (1-41). That was just part of an offensive juggernaut that went for 539 yards on what normally is a stout Miamisburg defense.

Next up for Wayne is a Week 5 showdown at Northmont (3-1), a former Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division rival that has been shifted to the new GWOC National West. Wayne still must deal with the entire GWOC National East over the second half of the regular season, but an upset is unlikely. Wayne also is loaded with an impressive defense that bends but often doesn’t break.

Senior Matt Wilcox is the only two-way player for the Warriors. He also is a heavy hitting strong safety whose name was called often against the Vikings.

Miamisburg has a great shot to go deep into the D-II playoffs and was within 17-12 of Wayne midway through the third quarter. Junior running back Tony Clark (23-143, two TD’s) was outstanding.

“They’re a great football team,” said Miamisburg senior offensive lineman Josh Myers, who’s verbally committed to Ohio State and paved the way for much of Clark’s yardage.

“Our guys just got tired. I’m proud of how we stuck with them. It’s very disappointing and we had high hopes coming into this game. That’s football. You’ve just got to move on and get ready for next week.”

Miamisburg (3-1) is at surprising Troy (4-0) on Friday.

• For the second straight year, Trotwood-Madison junior running back Raveion Hargrove will not play all of the Rams’ games. Hargrove, who ran for 3,039 yards last year, missed Friday’s 43-6 detonation of visiting Tippecanoe with a deep thigh bruise injury, according to Rams’ coaches.

Freshman William McDaniel filled in, scoring a touchdown and setting up another with a 79-yard run. McDaniel has four touchdowns in all.

As for Hargrove, he’s logged just 202 yards through four weeks. Although it doesn’t appear 3,000 yards is in reach again, don’t bet against it. Last season Hargrove ran for 1,853 yards (and 24 touchdowns) in the Rams’ final six games.

• Butler (2-2) has lost a half-dozen projected starters to injury; two offensive linemen, two defensive linemen, a quarterback and strong safety. Two of the linemen tore ACL’s while warming up. “I have never seen this level of freak injuries,” first-year Aviators coach Nathan Hyatt said following Thursday’s 35-0 blowout loss to visiting Northmont.

Butler escaped that loss relatively healthy, except for honorary captain Kyle Kuntz. He head-butted a helmeted player so hard that stiches were required to his forehead wound.

“He’s one of my all-time favorite players,” Hyatt said. “He got so jacked up before the game. Our guys said the worst injury of the night was to an honorary captain. That’s a classic.”

• Tippecanoe will fill its Week 3 void in 2017 with Northmont. The open date was created when Milton-Union opted not to continue a long-standing rivalry with Tipp. Bellbrook will play Tipp in a 2017 opener.

• Sidney historian Dave Ross reminds us that Sidney’s 42-25 defeat of visiting Xenia on Friday was the first time the former rivals had played since 1997. The teams played annually from 1928-63 as charter members of the Miami Valley League.

• This week’s Thursday night special is Springboro (3-1) at Centerville (1-3). Springboro has won three straight since dropping its opener to Mason. Centerville must win out to have a playoff shot. That’s unlikely unless the Elks can shore up their defense. Centerville’s only win was 52-35 over winless Lakota West. Last year Springboro dodged Centerville, 50-49.

The game will televised live on ABC 22/FOX 45 channel 45.2.

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